Is Bigger Always Better?
As well as being one of the oldest web hosts (founded in 1995), Aruba.it is by far the largest website hosting provider in Italy. It’s a European affair, with customers in France, the U.K., Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and more.
Aruba.it provides hosting services, cloud services, housing and colocation services, dedicated servers, and domains, as well as a variety of digital services.
Digging into its stats, it’s clear that we’re dealing with a big player. Aruba.it hosts more than 2.6 million domains and 8.6 million email accounts. It has 130,000 servers and around 5 million customers.
But bigger doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes, as companies get bigger, they get complacent. Customers become nothing more than a number, and the standard of the service declines. Is this the case with Aruba.it? And more important, is this hosting giant right for you?
Let’s find out.
(Nearly) Everything You Need
Aruba.it is a big company, so you’d expect it to offer all the standard hosting features as well as some bonus ones. And it doesn’t disappoint (most of the time).
It offers all the usual features like SSL certificates, automatic daily backups, and antivirus and anti-spam protection, but common features like free website migration and a content delivery network (CDN) are not included.
Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the most interesting features Aruba.it has to offer.
Choice of Operating Systems and Platforms
Aruba.it offers a range of options for your website. Not only are there WordPress-specific packages, you can also choose from Windows or Linux operating systems, or Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, or Magento content management systems (CMS). Overall, it’s a decent range of options for a shared hosting provider.
Features Designed for Developers
I’m not going to tell you that Aruba.it is the best host for developers—providers like DigitalOcean and Vultr have more to offer. But what I can say is the range of features for developers is decent for this type of host. To give you an idea, there’s support for PHP 7.2, Perl 5.16, Python 2.7, and Ruby 2.4.2, as well as phpMyAdmin and MySQL database.
If you’re doing business in the EU, your website is most likely subject to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Aruba.it offers a suite of GDPR features, such as SSL certificates, malware detection, and daily backup. Your site will be in compliance and the features could help you avoid any financial penalties.
Aruba.it makes a big deal out of its data protection features. It won’t sell your data to third parties, and because your data is stored in Europe, it’s not subject to U.S. laws such as the Patriot Act or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Unlimited Disk Space and Traffic
Aruba.it makes it easy to understand your resource quotas. All plans come with unlimited disk space and unlimited monthly traffic. Unfortunately, Aruba.it doesn’t provide a clear explanation of how much usage is considered acceptable and at what point your usage will be capped. In most cases with unlimited resources, as long as you’re using the website for normal activity, you’ll be fine.
Ease of use
A Better Interface Would Help
Aruba.it’s old-fashioned user interface and the lack of live chat are disappointing. However, Aruba.it offers a range of features that do make your life easier, such as its beginner-friendly tools and automatic backups.
Read on to find out its best user-friendly features.
Create an Account
The combination of a poorly translated website, an outdated interface, and the lack of live chat made my signup process quite tedious. To make matters worse, it’s not possible (unless you upgrade to a VPS plan) to use a domain registered elsewhere. You’re forced to either purchase a domain or transfer a domain to Aruba.it, paying for the privilege. You can read more about my frustrating experience here.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
Don’t let the account creation process deter you. If you’ve signed up for a WordPress plan and purchased a domain via Aruba.it (let’s be honest, you don’t have much choice), then this step is nearly entirely done for you. Click here to read more about how it works.
Aruba.it does a good job of covering a broad spectrum of services and features, great for both beginner and advanced users. It offers a semi-premium one-click installer that supports more than 200 programs, as well as a website building tool, SiteBuilder, free with all shared hosting plans.
WordPress Hosting Solutions
Aruba.it offers two types of WordPress plans. The first comes with WordPress pre-installed and the second is a fully managed WordPress plan. That’s great news for you if you’d prefer to outsource the day-to-day management of your WordPress application, for instance, the updates and the server configuration.
Not Bad, but Not the Best
According to the Aruba.it website, its data center is Tier IV, which is the best of the best, and should mean you get less than 26 minutes of annual downtime. While Aruba.it has a few disgruntled past clients, downtime isn’t often the cause of complaint.
There isn’t a clear uptime guarantee, which is surprising for a host of this size and one that clearly knows the importance of top-notch infrastructure. Nevertheless, based on other reviews, downtime does not appear to be a major concern.
But what about speed? I always like to confirm a host’s performance. To do that, I created a test WordPress website and put it through a Sucuri page load test. As you can see below, the results are not bad.
Even the worst-performing locations, such as Tokyo and Singapore, are far faster than 2 seconds load speed, which is when Google tells us most visitors will leave your website without viewing it.
Overall, if you’re website isn’t highly dependent on speed, e.g., an e-commerce store, Aruba.it is an acceptable choice.
Not Good Enough
If you’re the kind of customer who likes to be able to jump on live chat, this is not the right host for you. There are some useful how-to guides, but you’re extremely limited in other customer service options.
Throughout the website, call-to-action buttons urge you to contact customer service 24/7 for help, however, they all lead to the same place — a generic online contact form. If you need immediate help, these online forms are useless.
While I was setting up my account, I couldn’t believe that I could not use an existing domain registered elsewhere, so I submitted a question to support. It took almost 24 hours to get a reply to confirm my earlier suspicions were correct.
I thought I’d try to message the team via Facebook, as often this can be a quicker way to get support. That wasn’t the case here. I received an immediate bot reply (in Italian) telling me to submit an online form to get support. I wasn’t impressed.
A Budget Brand
The plans are very affordably priced, especially when you consider that both disk space and traffic are unlimited. Domain names are an added cost (you can’t use one registered elsewhere) so you should factor in that additional cost, while SSL certificates are included. Plans can only be purchased in annual terms; however, there are some pretty decent introductory prices available.
You can pay by credit card or PayPal, which should be sufficient for most customers.
Cancellations and Refunds
It wasn’t immediately obvious how to cancel my account with Aruba.it. But once I’d figured it out, it was easy. I just needed to wait for the cancellation to be processed. Read more about my experience here.