What is Rocket.net?
Rocket.net is a managed WordPress web hosting company. It is a new player in the market and offers one of the best platforms I have seen. It is extremely simple to use, and of course, it takes out the technical load, making lives easy for rookies who want to start their blogging career without any hiccup.
On the downside, however, it is pretty expensive. But that’s not uncommon. Managed WordPress hosting platforms are expensive in general. Rocket however compensates for the high price by offering Cloudflare Enterprise integrated right at their server level. It not only offers CDN, but also offer Web Application Firewall, and DDoS protection.
Because of Cloudflare integration and their rocket-wordpress plugin (do not confuse it with WP Rocket caching plugin) ensures that you get maximum speed. However, do not assume that their setup will give you the maximum attainable speed. You have to optimize your site.
Rocket Managed WordPress hosting is a brand-new player in the market. It appears, at least for now, that Rocket will give a tough competition to all the existing players in the market in the managed WordPress hosting niche.
Unlike other market players that heavily depend on Jetpack for providing optimized WordPress hosting, Rocket takes a different route. Powered by Cloudflare’s global network, they give ultrafast CDN and enterprise grade protection from online threats.
In this review, I am going to take their platform for a ride and see whether they stand up to their promise of blazing-fast websites or not!
The Pros of Rocket Managed WordPress Hosting
- Fully-managed service, so much so that the SSL certificate comes preinstalled.
- Wonderfully designed dashboard.
- Very easy to launch a site within less than two minutes.
- Allows creating a staging site with a single click.
- It allows publishing a stating site with a single click.
- It preinstalls some lightweight plugins that are pretty popular.
- It allows enabling auto-updates for themes and plugins.
- It allows installing multisite WordPress or WooCommerce or both with a single click.
- Rocket has the option of manual backups and automatic backups.
- You can set up cron jobs and add SSH keys.
- It even allows adding FTP accounts.
- You can select the PHP version too. However, the default setting is version 7.4, which is the latest PHP version available.
- They use Cloudflare Enterprise to offer caching, Web Application Firewall, and DDoS protection. It is a server-side implementation, allowing you to save money on CDN and security.
- You are free to use your own Cloudflare account if you want, but that is not required. You can request site-specific Cloudflare settings. If feasible, they will apply the same from the server.
- They have Redis available that they will enable on request. It is a nice feature that you should be using for object caching. It will cache your database queries, enabling faster processing. However, once you request Redis, you have to enable an appropriate plugin to make object cache work.
- They are indeed, blazing fast!
The Cons of Rocket Managed WordPress Hosting
- It doesn’t offer a file manager for the easy management of files. FTP or WinSCP or SSH terminal are the only methods of accessing the site files.
- It doesn’t allow fine-tuning caching (but I think that’s good, especially for those with no experience).
- It is expensive.
- There is absolutely no control over Cloudflare settings. This means that you cannot set page rules or firewall rules.
Getting Started with Rocket Managed WordPress Hosting
I will spare you the pain of going through the lengthy narrative of how to create an account. Simply head over to Rocket.net, select a plan that fits you the best, and buy it! Once you do that, you will receive an email to get access to your dashboard.
There is no option for registering your domain with them. They don’t act as a domain registrar. You have to buy your domain name from somewhere else. You can later point the domain to the nameservers of the hosting account.
In the Dashboard
The dashboard is super clean, and intuitive. I just loved it! Here is a quick look at the dashboard:
The dashboard’s top row shows the quick data on the number of sites available, visitors, disk space used, and bandwidth consumed.
Underneath that segment is a big button that you can click to create your first site. You can also create support tickets right from the dashboard.
There isn’t much to explore until you create a site.
Creating a Site
Once you click on the Create Site button, you need to enter the site name, choose the server location. This is what you will see:
Once you are satisfied with what you have added in Step 1, you need to click on the Continue button to move on to the next step of WordPress installation. Here you can see the URL of the site. It looks really ugly. Don’t worry; once you point your domain to the server, the URL will change.
You can also add an administrator name and password and add an email account. They will be hosting the email account your create. So, there is no need to purchase a business email separately.
You can also enable Multisite and/or WooCommerce on this page. Here is what you will see:
After you add the details, click on the Continue button, and the WordPress installation will take place by itself.
Wait for some time, and the installation will complete. After installation, you will see this:
Notice carefully! You will see a blue button on the top, which says Create Staging. You may choose to create your staging site or choose to point your domain to the hosting server by clicking on the Get Started button.
I will suggest that you create a staging version of your site and do all the customization before making your site live. Don’t customize your site after publishing it.
Once you click on the Create Staging button, Rocket will start creating the staging site. Wait for it! Once staging is created, this is what you will see:
You can quickly switch between staging and development from the dropdown menu you see on the left.
Now go to the WP-admin dashboard and customize your site to your heart’s content. Any changes you make in the dashboard will stay limited to the staging site only. It will not go live until you come back to the Rocket dashboard and hit the Publish button.
The Different Tabs in Dashboard
There are five tabs you can see clearly. They are:
The Overview tab will give you a snapshot of visitor data for the last 30 days by default. You can change the range to the last 24 hours or the last 60 days.
The overview tab will also give you details of your site and allow you to create FTP accounts.
If you click on the Add FTP Account button, you will see a popup where you can add a login ID and password and select the directory to land once you connect to the server using any FTP client.
This is what you will see:
This tab will show you the list of plugins that are installed on your site during the installation process. You can also search for new plugins directly from the control dashboard and install them without even visiting your website’s dashboard.
Like the Plugins tab, the Themes tab will also show you the list of themes installed on your WordPress site. There is a segment for searching new themes and installing them directly from the Rocket dashboard. There’s no need to visit your WordPress site dashboard to install a theme.
This is the tab where you will see a list of all automatic backups, and you can also create backups manually.
In this tab, you can enable auto-updates for themes, plugins, and WordPress core. You can also select the PHP version, create cron jobs, and add SSH keys. You can even delete the site completely from this tab.
The WordPress Dashboard
If you want to visit the WordPress dashboard, you need to click on the WP Admin button that you see on the top of the Rocket dashboard.
Clicking on that button will take you directly to the WordPress site’s backend (admin area). When you do so, you will see the welcome screen from Optin Monster, which is a plugin installed by default. This is how it looks like:
You can work on this staging site and customize it. Once you are happy with what you have done, you can publish the staging site.
Publishing the Site
To publish the staging site, go back to the Rocket dashboard, and hit the Publish button.
Once you click on that, you will get a confirmation popup which looks like this:
Click on the Publish button on the popup to continue. Once you hit the Publish button, it will take some time.
The amount of time it takes to publish the site will depend on the size of your site, its contents, and database size.
It can take under a minute, or it can take up to 10 minutes. So, wait until the process is finished.
Remember that even after you publish the staging environment, it will stay there on your server. You must manually delete the staging environment after publishing it.
The reason why I said that ‘YOU MUST MANUALLY DELETE’ it is that the staging environment created by the platform does not come with any password protection. This means that anyone can access the site, including search engine spiders.
If search engines find it, they will index it and you may run into several problems, including the problem of duplicate content.
Another big problem that you may encounter is that the staging site may create hundreds and thousands of backlinks to your money site or production site. Those backlinks will hurt your SERP rankings.
In case you do not want to delete the staging environment, I will highly recommend that you use a plugin for enabling password protection to it, while at the same time, you prevent search engines from indexing the site.
Overall, the movement between the production and the staging environments was a smooth experience. The absence of password protection for the staging is not a big issue because there are effortless ways for countering the same.
The Speed Test – Amazing!
Before I start, I would like to clarify a few things. The speed test I performed was on a blank site using only and only the default installation along with two installations from my end that include:
- GeneratePress theme (free version)
- WP Optimize plugin (free version)
The theme I used is a highly optimized theme designed for speed. If you use some other theme like Hueman theme or a theme that comes with a lot of fluff, your test results will not be satisfactory.
The WP Optimize plugin is a database optimization and caching plugin. Again, I used the free version, which is quite impressive, but you can always use its pro version, or better yet, use the premium WP Rocket caching plugin.
Do not forget that Rocket.net already provides you with Cloudflare caching and WAF. So, combine the power of your selected caching plugin with that of Cloudflare to experience ultra-fast speeds.
Of course, you have to take care of certain things like using lightweight images, properly sized images with dimensions defined, deferring JS, prefetching DNS, avoiding Google fonts, and so on!
If you do not take care of these factors and more, no hosting company in this world can give you the perfect speed.
Having said that, I highly recommend the following combination:
- GeneratePress Premium theme.
- WP Rocket caching.
- Imagify image optimization plugin.
Now, talking of their speed, with the basic setup of a free theme and a free caching plugin and no posts (no images, as well), this is what I saw for mobile:
And this is what I saw for desktop:
No matter how many times I ran this test, the results were super impressive. The scores for both mobile and desktop stuck within 98 and 100 for every test I ran.
Of course, one important factor that you need consider is the TTFB or Time to First Byte. That parameter essentially reflects the time it takes for the server to respond.
This is what I found for mobile:
And this is what I found for desktop:
This parameter may fluctuate at times and show you warnings. This happens when the requests for your website pages miss the Cloudflare cache (cache hits).
However, that should not be a big concern, because non-cache hits are quite normal. Almost all websites in this world will experience that.
Pricing of Rocket Hosting
It is expensive! There are four different plans to choose from – Starter, Pro, Business, and Agency.
The minimum monthly price you need to pay for the Starter plan is $30. If you go for the annual plan, the monthly price falls to $25 a month.
For the Pro plan, you have to pay $60 a month for the monthly plan and $50 a month for an annual plan.
For the Business plan, you have to pay $100 a month for the monthly plan and $83 a month for the yearly plan.
Finally, for the Agency plan, you have to pay $200 a month for the monthly plan and $166 a month for the yearly plan.
The Starter plan will give you 1 WordPress installation with 25,000 visits and 10 GB storage. The Pro plan will allow 3 WordPress installation with 100,000 monthly visits and 20 GB storage. The Business plan gives 10 WordPress installations with 250,000 visits and 40 GB storage. Finally, the Agency plan gives 25 WordPress installations with 500,000 monthly visits and 50 GB storage.
Note that the monthly visit allowed for the Pro, Business, and Agency plan is the collective number, not for individual sites!
Albeit, Rocket hosting is pretty expensive!
Conclusion – Highly Recommended
Rocket.net is one of the best managed WordPress hosting providers you will find today. With blazing-fast speeds, awesome customer support, Cloudflare enterprise integration, and an intuitive interface – Rocket.net is like that unicorn that everyone desires.
I highly recommend this managed hosting provider if you are looking for a reliable hosting provider in the managed WordPress hosting space.