In this WordPress hosting review, we are going to take a look at BunnyShell, a European company that helps you easily partition and manage cloud hosting. They market themselves as a great option for many different use cases, including everything from small blogs to major enterprise level applications. They don't specifically target WordPress, but many in the performance community use this company, so we had to test it out.
This review is one of six, covering some of the best performance oriented WordPress hosting companies, and utilizing several industry standard speed tests to understand the quality of the service. For more information and a comparison of all these hosting companies, read this article. All testing was completed in early 2021.
BunnyShell is a second generation hosting management panel that allows you to easily create and manage hosting from cloud providers. they target many different use cases including WordPress websites -- ecommerce, content websites, corporate websites, and more.
They are a European company and have offered lifetime deals to their platform several times, making them fairly popular among budget conscious users. Currently, in late January 2021, there is no lifetime deal running, so we will be taking a look at the current monthly pricing structure after discussing the features.
In addition to server management, there is API support, scalability emphasis, uptime monitoring, real time alerts, problem detection, and preset self healing mechanisms. Before continuing with this review, you should understand that this is oriented more towards developers, but the platform is easy enough to use for pretty much anybody looking for a cloud hosting management panel.
Let's take a look at the features that BunnyShell has to offer for WordPress specific use cases.
If you are looking to host WordPress on BunnyShell, the product that you'll be looking at is a managed web server. The managed web server comes with a one click installation of WordPress, and the BunnyShell platform allows you to create a server on one of three major cloud providers. Those include Digital Ocean, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services.
Essentially, the platform helps you automate the provisioning process of web servers on these cloud hosting infrastructure providers. When creating a new server, it installs several packages such as Apache, NGINX, caching, web application firewalls, and more. By the time it's done creating the server, you have an environment that is ready to run WordPress. You can then deploy the CMS with a one click installation, and even access the log in from the back end dashboard.
Once you're deployed, there are several logging tools so you can understand the usage of server resources, scale if necessary, and monitor your website uptime. There are also backup tools so in the event of any negative situations, you can restore from a previous point.
A big selling point of this company is the ease of integration with load balancing software. Load balancing allows you to split traffic between multiple resources, ensuring high deliverability and making sure that your website doesn't crash with viral traffic spikes. We really like this because load balancing is tough to figure out if you have a limited technical background in relation to server management.
So to review the features section of this review, specific to WordPress hosting, you can easily create a web server, install WordPress on it, and then manage the hosting from the back end. For clarity sake, BunnyShell is a graphical user interface that allows you to manage existing cloud hardware providers. They do not offer the hosting themselves , only an easy method to manage it.
The pricing of this is tailored towards WordPress power users, enterprise organizations, and digital agencies hosting client websites. First, there is a 14 day free trial that doesn't require a credit card entry.
The company has four distinct pricing tiers, as well as several custom options that we will be discussing. Because of the different pricing tiers that BunnyShell offers, they target different use cases with each of them. The cheapest tier comes in at $49.00 per month, and allows you to partition 5 servers and invite 5 users to the management panel. With it, comes The infrastructure management panel, one click WordPress installation, self healing capabilities, and Patch management. This plan is definitely targeting businesses that want to take advantage of the benefits that come with cloud hosting, power users with multiple WordPress websites, and smaller digital agencies.
The grow plan comes in at $349 per month and allows you to create 10 servers with 10 users. Here you can access all of the previously mentioned features, as well as real time monitoring, autoscaling, and the load balancer. This is oriented towards mission critical websites and digital agencies manageing many clients WordPress installations. The professional plan offers all of the previous features as well as automatic deployments, backups, and malware scanning for $599 per month period you also have unlimited users and 15 servers.
The final plan comes in at $1499 per month, offering unlimited users and the ability to create 30 servers. This is primarily for those hosting major websites, several major websites, large digital agencies, and enterprise applications. For example, if you are a large company with many different web properties, you would probably take a look at this plan. In addition to all of the prior features mentioned throughout the three plans, you get log aggregation an enhanced monitoring.
It should be noted that servers do not equal websites. Due to the nature of cloud hosting, you can have a single server hosting hundreds of individual WordPress websites, as long as you allocate the necessary amount of resources to each of them. You can also have a single website on a single server. It's up to your usage, server management plan, and requirements. So the main thing that you should be focused on are the features that each pricing tier offers, and the number of users that can access the panel.
This pricing structure operates just like cloud hosting, you can easily scale up and down depending on your usage.
the custom plans are something to take a look at period if you are a development plan, they implore you to reach out and contact them as the agency plan has dedicated features. There's also free internal usage which is great for development. If you are a large business, they can offer you a custom enterprise plan that includes more than 30 servers. If you're in early stage startup, you can access all of this infrastructure for only $79 per month.
You can also plug and play certain features like enhanced monitoring and log aggregation, if you don't want to opt for the pricier plans, but still want these features for yourself.
For our WordPress audience, You're probably going to be taking a look at the starter an growth plan, or the custom development agency plan. Again, the cheapest here comes in at $49.00 per month, but because you have the ability to create 5 servers , install WordPress in one click, access self healing capabilities in Patch management, you should be able to host dozens of websites comfortably. Therefore, this will suit the needs of anybody from an individual with a mission critical website to a smaller digital agency hosting client properties.
As you can tell, BunnyShell hosting is oriented towards professional use cases such as mission critical websites, revenue generating content applications, and large agencies that have multifaceted hosting requirements.
The back end platform is well designed, modern, and intuitive. You have the capability to add multiple organizations, making it easy to manage properties for different companies, or split web assets across multiple divisions.
The two major features and user interfaces are the server partitioning and the application management sections. When hosting with BunnyShell, you first create a server using one of the three major cloud provider infrastructures, and then install an application on top of that server.
Servers are created by using the applicable API to one of the three companies. For our test, we created a simple digital ocean droplet, which consisted of two gigabytes of ram, 50 gigabytes of solid state storage, and a single CPU with one core. This CPU was dedicated to our applications. Here, you can see that there are tabs to manage the access, services, applications on the server, the monitoring of the server resources, logs, security, ops, and audit history.
Actually creating the server was very easy, all we needed to do was choose the location, resources, and core packages that would be installed on it. This can all be managed after the fact as well by scaling up or horizontally.
Once you have created the server, you create the application that it will host. You can create multiple applications per server with the BunnyShell servers. You can also choose multiple preset installations, or install a custom application. That makes this hosting provider good for WordPress, as well as other settings such as custom PHP apps and more. If you offer a software as a service, this is definitely a good company for you to consider. In our case, we created a simple WordPress application.
After it was installed, we had access to a panel just like this:
Here you can see that it's easy to manage everything from the Cron jobs to the application URL, to your backup and restore points, to deployment from git and other services.
We could also edit various settings directly from the back end management panel, without having to SSH or connect via SFTP.
All in all, the back end panel is very easy to use and understand. It's a plus if you know how cloud hosting works, and have basic server management understanding, but even if you don't it's easy enough to install and partition a server, the necessary packages, and your WordPress installation. If you need help, that's where the BunnyShell support comes in, and for our review, we leaned on them heavily to simulate a user who was new to the cloud hosting arena.
Support for the BunnyShell company is very good, prompt, and knowledgeable. We asked them many questions regarding everything from how to set up a Digital Ocean server to how to install WordPress on it. They pointed us to several helpful documentation resources, and also typed out the steps in a live chat. We were able to speak with them on live chat as well as email. Because they were a European company, at some points during our testing, there is a time difference and we were unable to access live chat, but they resolved any issues we had as soon as possible.
Now, let's get into the performance testing for this post. We are assuming that you are using it for a WordPress website, so we installed WordPress on it, copied a production client website , and ran it through several speed testing applications.
We also used this benchmark website to test all of our other early 2021 WordPress hosting review candidates, so you can easily compare between.
Again, remember that BunnyShell hosting is actually a management panel that helps you install and manage packages on one of three cloud hosting providers. In this situation, our host is from Digital Ocean, includes one CPU, 2 gigabytes of ram, and 50 gigabytes of solid state storage.
K6 is an open source application that allows you to load test browsers by simulating a massive amount of direct traffic in one go. With it, we can collect accurate statistics on the actual speed of the server over an average of thousands of individual connections.
For the BunnyShell test, we made 4655 requests to the development Bunny route domain. The important statistics to note:
The average response time is the most important to take a look at, and the BunnyShell host outperformed pretty much every budget WordPress host in the arena. Having a response time of under 80 milliseconds in our opinion is great, so 40 milliseconds is a solid performance. Again, this statistic is an average taken from the 4655 requests made.
Geographical performance is not great. that is primarily due to the fact that we are not using a CDN, and this is a production website that makes use of high quality images. If we incorporated a CDN like Cloudflare enterprise, then this result would be immensely different. Though it is still provided here for context.
GT metrics testing showed that the BunnyShell host provided a solid framework for our WordPress website to be served to visitors.
It should be noted that this service does not include any CDN, so these are raw statistics from our testing server location of Vancouver Canada. The largest contentful paint was 1.3 seconds, our total blocking time was 149 milliseconds, and our aggregate score was a B. Keep in mind that the server is only a part of this score, so the GTMetrix testing is helpful when comparing to other hosts out there.
Let's take a look at server specific data from this test:
The connection time of 75 milliseconds is relatively solid. The time to 1st byte of 172 milliseconds is average, and could probably be made much better by incorporating a CDN or caching solution.
BunnyShell hosting is a very unique offering in the WordPress performance hosting space, and different from most competitors. They offer an interface that allows you to easily manage cloud hosting hardware, accessing enterprise level packages, monitoring, scalability, and more. This platform is definitely oriented towards power users, and people who aren't afraid to learn new things, but you also get a lot for the monthly price.
Performance wise, your websites will load relatively quickly compared to other hosts out there, and the end value of this service offering is pretty good. They have a free trial for 14 days, so we recommend you try the platform out for yourself, partition a few servers, install WordPress, and test the performance for yourself. In our opinion, this is a great alternative to other managed hosting companies out there if you're looking to save money, have more control over your own website, and be able to scale very quickly.