Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba first launched its cloud computing services back in 2009 as Aliyun, which was later rebranded as Alibaba Cloud. With 18 data centers and over 50 availability zones around the world, Alibaba Cloud has grown rapidly to cross the one millionth customer mark in 2017 to become China’s largest cloud provider and one of the biggest cloud hosting companies worldwide. The website is very sleek, informative, and available in several languages including English.
Features and Ease of Use
Alibaba Cloud offers a broad and diverse range of enterprise-level cloud products and services such as elastic computing, database services, storage hosting, VPC networking, and domain solutions. Let’s shift our focus on its web hosting service and start with some of its key features:
- 5 GB web space
- 30 domain names
- 50 GB monthly data transfer
- 30,000 monthly visits
- PHP 5.3 – 5.5
- Custom control panel
- 99.99% uptime
- Linux OS with Apache 2.4 Web Server
Unlike most web hosting vendors, Alibaba Cloud impressively stands out with a widely dispersed network worldwide. Unfortunately, its web hosting package is available only in two regions: Silicone Valley, U.S.A and Hong Kong.
Alibaba Cloud is a very good choice for personal blogs as well as small to medium-sized businesses, but it doesn’t offer anything that sets it apart from its competition, except for a global infrastructure. That said, I’m still disappointed as I expected more features from a big name in the market like Alibaba. The disk space is limited to 5 GB and the custom control panel isn’t efficient for the non-tech savvy. However, it’s nice to see that Alibaba Cloud allows up to 30 domains to be hosted on each account.
Alibaba Cloud doesn’t provide a software auto-installer. On other hand, you can still install popular CMSes such as WordPress and Joomla.
Pricing and Support
Oddly enough, Alibaba Cloud offers only a single web hosting plan at a fair price. However, such limitations whether in pricing or features are largely disappointing, especially when Alibaba Cloud is designed to be scalable and flexible for businesses.
Fortunately, Alibaba Cloud offers a free trial that allows you to test 16 paid products and over 20 always-free products. This includes their Elastic Compute Service, Server Load Balancer, and MongoDB database among others. As long as you’ve been registered for less than a year, you’re eligible for the trial. The catch is that you do have to add a payment method, so be aware that if you’re not satisfied with their services, you have to manually cancel your free trial so that it doesn’t automatically charge you.
Payment options are limited to PayPal and credit cards.
On a brighter note, Alibaba Cloud provide excellent support. There’s a dedicated live chat channel, which I tested and was happy about the level of support I received. Other support channels include ticket support and phone support. There’s also a very good Knowledgebase together with a forum and a helpful F.A.Q section.