Long gone are the days when building a website was a complex process, welcoming only experienced web developers or businesses with solid IT budgets. The last ten years have seen web hosting services become faster, simpler, more secure, and increasingly cheaper.
Still, as a first-time user, you can easily get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options you have on the market. You have to start with a reliable web hosting provider, and you’ll quickly notice there are literally thousands of hosts fighting for your attention.
Picking the best one for your project should come after careful consideration of essential needs like performance, control, security, support, price, etc.
And that’s just the first step – you now have to decide which hosting plan would best suit your website. Here is where things get interesting…
The price tag used to be the primary deciding factor for most clients – startups and individuals mostly chose shared hosting, SMBs often opted for VPS hosting, and big enterprises found their home on dedicated servers. But that formula didn’t last for long. The technological evolution brought new hybrid types of hosting, and the investments needed for operating your own server were gradually dropping.
The time has never been better to jump straight to a virtual private server solution.
What are VPS Servers?
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a type of service where the provider splits a single physical server into several virtual instances, all isolated from each other and with separate CPU/RAM/space allocation.
This is very much in contrast with the traditional method where hosts cram 100 users on a single server and give them a single resource pool to drain from.
As you may imagine, the shared hosting setup proved inherently flawed compared to the rise of virtual servers.
VPS solutions introduced a completely new way of building and managing websites – one where you have full control over the environment. You can install whatever software you need and configure the server down to the tiniest details.
Scalability is a huge benefit of VPS services. Virtual servers allow you to easily add and remove resources as per your needs, making the service not only immensely versatile but opening it to a wide variety of clients. Even if you’re just starting out, you can adjust your hosting to fit your current budget and plan your growth accordingly.
The isolated account environment solves two of the inherent essential problems with shared plans – performance and security. VPS servers put you at the helm so you can optimize your loading speeds and safety measures to the maximum.
VPS solutions can be divided into two main types, differing in the level of support you can get – Managed and Self-Managed.
- Managed VPS – you get hands-on support from your hosting provider. This includes things like initial setup, OS installation, adding hardware and software, server maintenance, and technical issue resolution. Perfectly suited for novice users and companies that want to focus more on business development.
- Self-Managed VPS – designed for more experienced developers and webmasters, unmanaged VPS services give you a bare-metal machine equipped with the essential system resources for its operation – CPU, RAM, and disk space. From there on – you are practically on your own. This unmatched control over the environment means that you are also responsible for all the technical aspects of your hosting.
In short, virtual private servers have all the potential to become the go-to service for most web hosting clients in the future.
Who is ScalaHosting?
ScalaHosting has been around since 2007 and quickly realized that in order to succeed in such a saturated market, you have to find your niche. For Scala, it was offering unique in-house solutions for a wide variety of VPS users.
The client-first approach did not go unnoticed, and it didn’t take long for clients to start flocking in.
Today, ScalaHosting has made a mark in the industry, utilized by over 50,000 clients and their 700,000 online projects. The provider is recognized in numerous publications and received countless rewards in recent years for its innovative approach in the VPS hosting niche.
But the Scala Team didn’t just want all the glory for themselves. The company’s R&D department put a strong focus on solutions that can later be integrated with various third-party platforms, helping the entire hosting industry move a step forward. The results did not take long – under the Scala management, we have seen the inception of SPanel (versatile server management), SShield (proactive server monitoring), and SWordPress Manager (simplified WP operation), just to name a few.
Let’s now take a closer look at Scala’s flagship product, SPanel, to see what the fuss is about.
What is SPanel?
SPanel is more than just a control panel. Scala’s very own server management platform comes with all the bells and whistles, so any user can turn into a server administrator even without knowing a thing about web development.
SPanel aims to be an all-in-one solution when it comes to your hosting needs. It fits your VPS server like a glove and helps you operate all essential aspects of your online experience. The platform is very lightweight, reducing the strain on the server to a minimum and allowing for maximized website performance.
SPanel consists of two main parts:
Тhis is the graphic environments tied to each user account. Much like cPanel, Scala’s SPanel offers an intuitive interface with a ton of helpful options and settings you can tweak. Your main sections here are:
- Email – contains all the helpers needed for smooth online communication. Create unlimited email accounts, assign quotas, set forwarders and autoresponders, apply filters – all that is just a couple of clicks away.
- Databases – tools for easy database management
- Settings – configure various account settings relating to user management, security, and languages. The “Request a Feature” option is particularly helpful as ScalaHosting always listens to the client feedback and responds with regular updates and new improvements.
- Domains – administrative control over your domain names, subdomains, parked domains. Here is the place for domain redirects and DNS zone editing as well.
- Files – everything related to your website files and backups. Acting as an FTP alternative, you can easily transfer files, edit them, and delete them without the need for extra software.
- Tools – the place for advanced settings and extras. You will find the Softaculous autoinstaller, SSL certificates, cron jobs, and more here. Contains SWordPress Manager, which is a unique Scala tool for effortless WP management.
Тhis is the control room for the VPS owner. Aided by an intuitive GUI interface, any user can easily become a server administrator. Right from the get-go, you are greeted with a screen of various server statistics, with the ability to customize dashboards to display the information most vital for you.
On the left, you’ll find the essential menus:
- Server Management – your go-to place for managing your packages and users, monitoring vital server statistics, and branding your online business. You can also access the API for advanced integrations.
- Accounts Management – you can divide your VPS server to as many user accounts as you wish, allocating them a customizable amount of resources. This section allows you to create, edit, suspend, and remove accounts according to your current usage. Includes SSH access options.
- Software – all additional software solutions you want to integrate with your control panel will appear here. By default, both cPanel and SPanel throw Softaculous into the mix, but there are various other tools and gadgets you can add.
- SQL Services – you can see all the running database processes here, with the option to stop any of them. This allows you to closely control your incoming traffic and avoid high server loads.
You can easily integrate SPanel with Apache and Nginx web servers, but Scala recommends opting for a LiteSpeed or OpenLiteSpeed configuration for maximum speed and fastest loading times. If speed is crucial for your online project – that’s definitely the way to go!
SPanel stands out from similar control panels as a solution that encompasses every function needed to operate a standard online project. Doesn’t matter if the client intends to host a growing blog, a stunning multimedia gallery, or a profitable online shop – Scala’s versatile platform has got things covered.
- Fast and Lightweight – SPanel might pack a ton of functionalities, but the ScalaHosting Team has ensured that does not affect the server performance one bit. What’s more, the platform is actually very lightweight compared to the competition, allowing you to get the best out of your VPS plan. Pair up with a LiteSpeed/OpenLiteSpeed server for maximized website speeds.
- Effortless to use – it doesn’t matter if you are a tech guru or this is your first-ever online project – SPanel makes it easy for every user to manage their hosting services. The time you’ll save learning about server hardware and software is surely better spent on your future website and its success.
- Advanced hosting security – SPanel is equipped with another one of Scala’s very own products – SShield. This security monitoring system analyzes your incoming traffic and looks for any suspicious activities. Should it detect some – it immediately notifies the server administrator and takes appropriate action.
- Regular updates – many users neglect the importance of finding an actively developed solution, doesn’t matter if we’re talking about site builders, software add-ons, or a WordPress theme. Frequent updates do not only fix possible issues with the product – they often add new features and improvements as well. SPanel gets a new version almost every couple of months, and client testimonials are usually taken into account when working on new feats.
- Completely Free – the rise in cPanel license costs in recent years has been a strong inspiration for ScalaHosting to create SPanel. The proprietary control panel is offered completely free of charge on a Scala VPS, and one of the recent updates saw the introduction of a new licensing option. You can now integrate SPanel with practically any virtual server.
- Free migrations – as if the above was not enough, Scala throws free data migrations to the mix as well. Doesn’t matter which provider you’re using or how many websites you have – the seasoned technicians will ensure everything is properly transferred to your new home and working as before.
And when you look at SPanel under the hood, you can easily understand why more and more clients choose it as their go-to solution for any web hosting needs…
Apart from the standard options for managing domains, emails, files, and databases, SPanel shines with some unique tools and add-ons that perfectly showcase Scala’s innovative side.
- SShield – Scala’s in-house security solution. An integral part of SPanel, SShield gives you peace of mind by monitoring all your incoming traffic for suspicious activities. Tested to detect and block over 99.998% of all known spam and malware, this tool relies on machine learning to improve itself to become even more efficient.
- SWordPress Manager – another unique tool under the SPanel belt. SWordPress Manager not only aids your easy WP operation with one-click installations, admin password change, and automatic updates but also introduces the Security Lock feature. Block editing access to your files and directories, protecting them from malicious code or rendering all hidden backdoors useless.
- Joomla Manager – ScalaHosting is one of the few hosting providers that were officially recognized by Joomla, sealing a partnership between the two companies for years to come. As part of their close relations, Scala adds a Joomla Manager tool in its SPanel. If you are looking for something that will help with your Joomla installation, password change, or site cloning – this is one you should definitely check out.
- Softaculous Autoinstaller – If you are neither a Joomla nor WordPress fan, you still have a choice of 400 other website building scripts at your disposal. This is thanks to the Softaculous one-click installer, a platform that certainly needs no introduction. Quick app configuration is one of the first steps in your online journey and Softaculous makes sure you waste no precious time on it.
- Advanced Backup Manager – data backups are another inseparable part of your web hosting journey – they protect you from both the spreading cybersecurity threats and your own human errors. Daily backups are always recommended and Scala’s tool allows you to safely archive and restore your site information as easy as clicking a couple of buttons.
- WHMCS Integration – the most popular billing solution for site administrators has long been paired up with cPanel but you can now use it with your SPanel VPS as well. WHMCS guarantees you easy account management and a ton of options for commercial websites.
- Minecraft Server Support – one of the more recent additions to the growing SPanel feature portfolio is its full support to the worldwide gaming phenomenon Minecraft. Millions of people come to the MC servers every day and ScalaHosting gives you the opportunity to host one yourself (while still building a website on the side).
- API Management – create customized API tokens for effortless integration of third-party apps with SPanel. You can then hand-pick exactly which features will be active for your users and which will remain hidden. Customization flexibility at its finest.
- In-depth Statistics – most server control panels will inevitably include some vital statistics but none other do it like SPanel. Apart from the standard stats, your VPS will be integrated with the GoAccess dashboard that comes with crucial information about your traffic, visitors, and system resources in use.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of reasons to choose SPanel as your hosting management platform. But as cPanel is still the market dominator in this niche, let’s see how the two solutions stack against each other in a head-to-head comparison.
SPanel vs. cPanel Comparison
Breaking down the most important factors that influence the client’s buying decisions, we will see that SPanel and cPanel have a lot of things in common. Still, the two platforms carry some important distinctions as well.
The two platforms offer an intuitive GUI interface that is extremely easy to master even by complete beginners. The navigation is smooth and each option takes you exactly where you would expect. SPanel and cPanel both offer white-labeling options as well, allowing you to completely rebrand your control panel to match your business.
Both control panel solutions are feature-packed, which inevitably takes some system resources to operate smoothly. Testing SPanel and cPanel, we did not experience any major lags or service interruptions, which is always the goal.
Still, SPanel is highly geared toward speed, with the platform putting minimum extra load on the server and that gives it a bit of an edge here.
ScalaHosting strongly relies on community feedback and actively develops new features and integrations for SPanel. The proprietary control panel receives new updates quite frequently, which is always a good sign of the company’s involvement. CPanel might still provide more options out-of-the-box, but SPanel is quickly reducing that gap.
Another aspect where both solutions perform on a high level, but on top of everything, SPanel can also brag with SShield. This unique integration further strengthens the defenses around your online premises and ensures the risks of outside breaches are little to none.
This is a bit of a tricky category as the level of your support mostly depends on the hosting provider you will choose. Sure, cPanel offers some online manuals and support forums, but generally, you will rely on your host when platform issues arise.
The good thing about having an SPanel server with ScalaHosting is that you’ll get assistance from the same people that have developed the product – after all, there is no one better at knowing all its ins and outs.
There can be only one winner here. SPanel comes completely free of charge, while cPanel clients have seen its prices go up on at least three different occasions in the last few years. This makes a huge difference if you are a hosting provider or an agency that hosts multiple clients.
SPanel and Multi-Datacenter Clustering
Just recently, ScalaHosting has introduced another top-of-the-line service called Multi-Datacenter Clustering.
Uninterrupted uptime and smooth performance is something no web hosting client can turn down and this is the main goal of this innovative service. It allows you to employ clusters of servers in different datacenter locations. Some of the nodes act as load balancers and others are dedicated to your databases and website operation. This kind of setup guarantees high availability and a redundant environment fit for high-traffic projects.
Things get even more interesting when you throw multiple datacenters in the mix. The partnership with Amazon AWS has helped ScalaHosting maintain a wide range of server locations all over the world. Content requests are always served from the closest possible datacenter to the visitor location, and even in cases when a server experiences problems – the next one will simply take over and keep you online.
Multi-datacenter clustering improves the client security as well. DDoS attacks are great examples of a common hacker weapon against unsuspecting websites. But here you have an entire network of interconnected servers, and that’s something impossible to target simultaneously.
Conclusion – Should you buy it?
If you’re on the market for a powerful VPS plan with enough support to aid your business growth – ScalaHosting is definitely a top choice to consider. The experienced host has been focused on the VPS niche for quite a while now, and it definitely shows when you take a peek behind the curtain.
SPanel might resemble cPanel in many aspects, but the added integrations and flexible customization seem to bring more and more people to the Scala platform. And that’s even before considering the zero added costs for licensing.
All managed VPS hosting packages with Scala come with clear pricing and the free trial option will allow you to test everything before you commit long-term.