Looking for a new hosting service to host your WordPress website? If so, Rocket.net is an extremely worth trying. The service costs only $1 for the first month so that you can use it without any risk. Rocket.net itself is a relatively new managed WordPress hosting service. It was founded in 2020 by Ben Gabler.
Rocket.net operates in the same segment as existing players like WP Engine and Kinsta (we have a dedicated post covering WP Engine vs Kinsta you may want to read). It targets WordPress users needing more capable hosting service for their business-oriented WordPress websites. Rocket.net uses the edge network technology powered by Cloudflare to deliver a better site performance. The most interesting thing about Rocket.net is that it offers a more affordable price than other competitors — at the similar specs (will be covered further later).
Just like other managed WordPress hosting services on the same segment, Rocket.net is also bundled with handy features like scheduled backups, free SSL, streamlined custom control panel, and so on. Read on to learn more about the hosting service.
We subscribed to the Starter plan — the lowest plan offered by Rocket.net — to create the content. So, everything we write here is based on our experience using the plan. Learn more.
— Custom-built Control Panel
Nearly all managed WordPress hosting services have their own control panel, instead of using a third-party control panel like Plesk and cPanel. Rocket.net also has its own control panel, which it calls Mission Control.
Rocket.net’s Mission Control offers a more streamlined interface than third-party control panels like cPanel and Plesk. It is integrated with WordPress.org repository whereby you can search and install themes and plugins directly from it.
On the main screen on the Misson Control, you can see key information like bandwidth usage, disk usage, site users, data center location, and so on. There is a single sign on button to allow you login to your WordPress dashboard without entering username and password.
Here the screenshots of Mission Control.
— Cache and CDN
Cache and CDN are the featured features offered by Rocket.net. These features are powered by Cloudflare Enterprise. They are available as a bundle and always enabled. The CDN/cache of feature Rocket.net stores the static content of your website to 275+ edge locations around the world.
Rocket.net itself doesn’t offer a dedicated menu to control the CDN and cache. There are no options to set things like exclude certain URLs from cache, enable or disable CDN, and so on. But you can monitor the CDN usage from Reporting menu.
While to clean up the cache, you can do so from your WordPress dashboard. You should see a new menu on the top bar called CDN Cache. Simply click it to clean up the cache.
Rocket.net offers server-level security feature to protect your website from cyber-attacks. There are two installed WAFs (Web Application Firewall) to protect your website. The first one is on the Rocket.net server where your WordPress website is installed. This firewall is powered by Imunify360. This firewall is aimed at performing real-time malware protection, scanning, and patching. The firewall will stop every malicious code to be executed.
The second firewall is installed on the CDN servers. This firewall scans every request to your WordPress website. If deemed safe, the request will be sent to the Rocket.net server where your website is installed.
To check the firewall activities, you can go to the Reporting menu on the control panel.
— Staging Environment
Staging environment is a common feature offered by a managed WordPress hosting service. The feature is also available on Rocket.net. Staging environment itself allows you to make any change to your website without worrying it will break your live website. The feature is quite useful to try a new feature on your website before you release it publicly. You can also use the feature when redesigning your website.
When you create a new staging website, Rocket.net will create a new temporary sub-domain under the onrocket.site domain to allow you to access the staging website. Every change you make on the staging website will not be applied to your live website until you publish it.
To apply the changes on the staging website to the live website, you can simply click the Publish button.
— Scheduled Backup
Scheduled backup is a common feature found on most managed WordPress hosting services. Rocket.net also comes with this feature. It performs backup on a daily basis. The backup files are stored on the Rocket.net server for 14 days. The same period as Kinsta’s lowest plan.
When an unexpected thing happen, you can easily restore your website. Rocket.net allows you to restore whether all site files, theme files only, plugin files only, and database only.
Want to download the backup files on your computer? Rocket.ne also allows you to do so. You can store both the WordPress files and the database file.
— Auto Update Control
Auto update is the main feature that all managed WordPress hosting services offer. They will update the WordPress core every time a new version is available. Some services — including Kinsta and WP Engine — automatically make the update toward WordPress core every time a new update is available — be it major update or minor update. In Rocket.net, you are given the update options. You can choose whether Rocket.net should update your WordPress core for minor update or major update. You can even disable the auto update if you want it.
In addition to WordPress core, Rocket.net also offers auto update feature for themes and plugins. If the options are enabled, it will automatically update your plugins and themes. A little note. Only plugins and themes available on WordPress.org will be updated.
You can find the options to control the auto updates on the Advanced menu on the Rocket.net control panel.
— Plugin and Theme Manager
Mission Control — the control panel of Rocket.net hosting — is integrated with WordPress.org plugin and theme repository. You can directly manage your plugins and themes right from the control panel. You can install, remove, activate, deactivate, to update themes and plugins.
Rocket.net brings themes and plugins available on WordPress.org to Mission Control to allow you browse and install ones.
— File Access and Database Access
An interesting thing about Rocket.net is that it offers a built-in file manager. It is a rare thing to find a managed WordPress hosting service offering the feature. Kinsta, WP Engine, Pressable, to Pressidium. They don’t have this feature.
The built-in file manager is quite useful to manage WordPress files — especially for those who don’t get used to with FTP yet. The Rocket.net file manager itself comes with the following capabilities:
- Upload files
- Create new file and folder
- Delete file and folder
- View and edit file
There are no options to select multiple files or to create an archive. However, the feature is quite useful to do things like making minor changes to a file.
Another option to access your WordPress files is by using FTP connection. Rocket.net comes with an FTP account manager you can use to create and delete FTP accounts.
What about database?
Of course, you can also access your WordPress database. Same as most hosting services, Rocket.net also offers GUI-based database access via phpMyAdmin. You can find phpMyAdmin under the Advanced menu.
Built-in stats feature is also available to allow you to learn the resource usage on your plan. From the Dashboard menu on Mission Control, you can monitor stats like disk usage, bandwidth usage, to number of visitors.
More detailed stats are available on the Reporting menu on the site manager. From this menu, you can also monitor the WAF stats.
Rocket.net is one of the best options if you are looking for a modern managed WordPress hosting that supports older PHP versions. At the time of writing (July 2023), the service still supports PHP 5.6. Rocket.net itself uses Apache for web server and MySQL for database server. Here are the detailed technical specs of the Rocket.net hosting service.
|PHP versions||PHP 5.4, PHP 7.2, PHP 7.3, PHP 7.4, PHP 8.0, PHP 8.1|
|PHP memory limit||1024 MB|
|Maximum upload file size||100 MB|
— PHP Configuration
And here is the detailed information about PHP configuration on Rocket.net.
|Maximum input variables||100000|
|Memory limit||1024 MB|
|Maximum input time||400|
|Maximum file size||100 MB|
|Post maximum size||100 MB|
|cURL version||7.87.0 OpenSSL/1.1.1p|
To prove the quality of Rocket.net, we performed basic tests using PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and StatusCake.
PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix were used to test Rocket.net on live action, while StatusCake was used to figure out the uptime. The test itself was run a brand-new website powered by Elementor. Here are the details about the test.
- Page size: 1.5 MB
- Page requests: 44
- Rocket.net Server location: Ashburn, USA
— Testing Results on PageSpeed Insights
— Testing Result on GTmetrix
— Testing Result on StatusCake
StatusCake is an online tool that you can use to monitor the performance of your server. You can use it to monitor things like uptime, average load time, and so on.
We run the test for 12 with the check rate of 5 minutes. Here are the results:
We had a little issue connecting our domain with Rockect.net. Soon, we looked for some help from the support team. Three different people were involved to help me out, including Ben Gabler, the founder. This made me amazed about his dedication.
Same as other hosting services, Rocket.net also uses ticket-based support. The platform itself is powered by Zendesk.
There are a number of hosting plans that Rocket.net offer — which you can use according to your needs. They are grouped into three main categories: Managed Hosting, Agency Hosting, and Enterprise Hosting. All plans on each category comes with unlimited PHP workers, including the lowest plan on the Managed Hosting category.
For plans on the Managed Hosting and Agency Hosting categories, you only need to pay $1 for the first month, which is great for testing purpose in case you are looking for the best suited hosting solution for your needs.
As disclosed on the opening section, we subscribed to the lowest plan on the Managed Hosting category. The plan — called Starter — costs $30 per month. As a comparison, the lowest plan of WP Engine also costs $30 per month, while the lowest plan of Kinsta costs $35 per month.
What makes Rocket.net better is that it offers unlimited PHP workers, as well as capable of handling more monthly visitors.
Here is the table comparing the lowest plan offered by Rocket.net, WP Engine, and Kinsta.
|Number of visits||250,000||25,000||25,000|
|Storage||10 GB||10 GB||10 GB|
|Monthly bandwidth||50 GB||50 GB||100 GB|
|Backup retention||14 days||60 days||14 days|
Pros and Cons of Rocket.net — The Verdict
Rocket.net is yet another WordPress hosting service that is capable of delivering an excellent site performance, without needing install any optimization plugin. It adopts the edge network technology to create distributed hosting infrastructure. The hosting service of Rocket.net is powered by Cloudflare — which has over 200 data centers around the globe.
Technically, the hosting infrastructure of Rocket.net consists of 8 main data centers and 275+ edge networks (powered by Cloudflare). The main data centers are:
- Ashburn, USA
- Phoenix, USA
- Brisbane, Australia
- Sydney, Australia
- London, UK
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Frankfurt, Germany
— Issues We Faced During the Test
As you can see above, Rocket.net is capable of delivering an excellent site performance. It also has some features to ease your job in managing your site.
No product is perfect, though. As we stated, there was a little issue we faced during the test regarding connecting our domain with Rocket.net. It didn’t let us know the IP address of our website so that we couldn’t add the A record when setting the DNS. We got the IP address after Ben Gabler — the founder — provided it on a reply on the support ticket.
Another issue we found is during WordPress installation process. Rocket.net suggested too many plugins, as you can see below:
We have no idea whether Rocket.net makes a partnership with Awesome Motive. Those plugins are owned by Awesome Motive.
Lastly, if you are looking for a hosting service that offer email hosting, Rocket.net doesn’t have it.
- Excellent performance
- Simplified control panel
- More secure with built-in WAF
- Built-in file manager
- More control over auto updates
- Scheduled backups
- More affordable
- $1 for the first month is great to give it a try first
- Lack of documentation
- Lack of controls over CDN and cache
- Too many recommended plugins
- No email hosting